ROMANIA, Transylvanian Villages: Rural Life & Crafts (with or without bicycles)
Location: Romania: South Transylvania, the region called Sibiu’s borders. Starting point Sibiu.
Date: On request. Eight days and seven nights.
Group size: From two to six persons.
Accommodation: Local guesthouses
Activity level: Moderate.
Price: With bikes: Kr 8990,- (per person, 2 people), Kr 7990,- (per person, 3 people), Kr 6950,- (per person, 4 people), Kr 6500,- (per person, 5), Kr 5990,- (per person, 6 people). By car: 9990,- (per person, 2 people). Including: all activities in the itinerary, transport in Romania, accomodation and meals as mentioned below.
Description: We dive into the rural life and traditional occupations of a region famous for shepherding, Sibiu’s borders. Our hospitable hosts will get us involved in gardening, cooking, painting, making bricks. After learning the basics of wood carving and pottery, you will have as a souvenir a wooden fork and clay pot, hand-made by you. A blacksmith will open the door of his workshop to see him at work and in the last day we relax at a sheepfold, on top of the mountain, with splendid views all around. In the first days we’ll walk and in the last four days we’ll bike some 100 km so this is a hands-on, active holiday.
Day 1: Arrival Orlat.
We arrive in Orlat, a village set at the foot of the mountains in a beautiful setting. After a traditional welcome lunch, in the afternoon we give our hosts a helping hand at working the garden and picking vegetables for our dinner.
Day 2: Orlat. Today we get our hands dirty by making bricks the traditional way from clay, water and sand. The only craftsman of the kind from the entire region has everything in place, clay in the back yard, sand, needed tools and a burning oven. We will be there to learn and help.In the afternoon we meet local traditional dancers and musicians and they will show and teach us how it is done so by the evening we’ll be ready to dance.
Day 3: Orlat. Today we’ll join our host for things she excels at. One of them is cooking, for which she received numerous awards for cooking traditional meals, from the biggest sarmale (forcemeat rolls in cabbage) to the most delicious soup; she will share her kitchen with us, so we better roll up our sleeves.The second thing she is very good at is glass painting, traditional for this region is painting icons. Under her guidance we’ll let imagination flow and the brushes to express our creativity.
Day 4: Orlat – Marginimea Sibiului - Jina. We bike through the core of the shepherding region called Marginimea Sibiului to reach its highest point and most representative village, Jina, set on 7 hills, just like Rome but at 1000 altitude (34 km to bike and 610m vertical climb). For a proper induction we visit the local ethnographic museum and hear the stories and legends of the locals.
Day 5: Jina - Sugag.
Early in the day we visit the local blacksmith as he heats, shapes and welds iron to create the perfect horseshoe and then putting it on – a demonstration of strength and mastery at once. After a relaxing 12km downhill bike ride we learn the secrets of wood carving and hopefully make our own fork that we can use for meals. For the rest of the day we participate in the daily routine of a small farm, pile a haystack, feed the animals, milk the cows, make cheese and work in the garden. An interesting sleeping option in Sugag village: on hay in the barn!
Day 6: Sugag - Calnic.
We bike through a picturesque river valley for 17 km to arrive to the pottery workshop in a village that once was famous for its ceramics. Now at the local school we will practice on the potter’s wheel, the first lesson is centering the clay while spinning the wheel with the foot. Not an easy task but totally worth it if after a few hours of work you get a bowl or a pot to take away. In the afternoon we bike for another 8 km to Calnic village where we’ll spend the night.
We visit the village fortress at Câlnic, a UNESCO World Heritage site and then get ready for the last 26 km on bike, uphill to Jina (760m vertical climb). Once at Jina we embark on a horse-drawn carriage and to meet a local shepherd family in their electricity free sheepfold at 1200 meters altitude where they tend for their flock. We spend the rest of the day here, enjoying fresh milk, cheese and the shepherd’s flute music as sun sets over the mountains.
Day 8: Jina – Cluj-Napoca/Sibiu.Relaxing morning and transfer to Cluj-Napoca or Sibiu.